Last week, a group of neighbors on east Kent Avenue successfully convinced the Cody City Council to rezone nearly all of their neighborhood to a lower, less dense designation.
The neighbors’ biggest frustration was that they hadn’t had the opportunity to do this sooner, as one of the property owners is planning to develop 14 lots on his pair of 2-acre parcels.
Zoning is an important if often overlooked feature of cities, and every property owner would do themselves a favor by checking in to the city planning and zoning department to see not only what their property is zoned, but also what is around them.
Cody is changing and just because one lot may have a small house and large yard on it now, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have a business office on it a few years down the road if the zoning allows it.
As the council members displayed in this instance, they are generally in favor of property owners being allowed to do with their property as they see fit as long as rules allow. That means they’ll allow a group of neighbors to change their zoning but also, as shown by the council exempting the developer’s lots, they don’t want to stand in the way of someone doing what they want on their land. We like this approach of, for the most part, favoring the property owner. But this also entails that the zoning be done appropriately. On Kent, the majority of neighbors disagreed with the developer on whether the neighborhood of large lots was a good fit for the more dense development allowed.
Outside of city limits, county zoning is a different animal entirely. The proposed Buck Creek Estates between Cody and Powell on the Powell Highway has come against similar criticism, with the property owner and developer having bought the property to develop what is now farmland into a residential area, while some of the neighbors – and others in the community – are concerned about the change of use.
No city zoning would prevent something such as the proposed subdivision, so county leaders would have to get creative if they wanted to restrict similar developments in the future in advance.
But if the county leaders follow the city’s lead, they’ll let the development proceed as long as neighboring property owners are not directly, adversely affected.